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Strength in Adversity: Navigating Multiple Displacements in Sudan's Darfur Region

Posted on 22 May 2024

In Darfur, where displacement has upended the lives of many, Israa’s story is a testament of resilience. Displaced not once but twice, she is determined to secure a better future for herself and her eight children despite the numerous challenges. 

“My name is Israa,” she began, reflecting on her tumultuous journey.

“In 2004, I was displaced from Saga to Nertiti North Camp in Central Darfur and then from North Camp to Dankuway Roor in 2023, only to return to North Camp later.”

The memories of the initial displacement still linger – the arduous journey, sometimes on foot, sometimes by car, and the eventual settling in North Camp where she lived in a school with the support of an organization operating there. 

“The challenges were overwhelming,” Israa recounts.

“I did not go to school as my father gave me away in marriage when I was 14 years old. My ex-husband and I have eight children.”

In November 2023, when the conflict in Darfur intensified, she chose to prioritize her children’s wellbeing and leave her husband.

“It was not an easy decision,” she admits.

“At the beginning of the war, my husband began drinking more and refused to move us to a safer area. After much thought, I made up my mind to take my children to a more secure place. This was the reason for our divorce.”

It was a decision that speaks volumes about her love and dedication as a mother. 

In sprawling North Camp, where the community faces a scarcity of essential services and rising safety risks, the Danish Refugee Council implements programmes to improve protection. Israa benefitted from DRC's community-based protection assistance supported by the Sudan Humanitarian Fund, receiving training on identifying threats and how to seek assistance from services providers in the areas. Structured psychosocial support (PSS) sessions helped her to learn to manage fear and anger, communicate effectively, make informed decisions, and set meaningful goals. 

“When we were displaced again in November, I was not afraid,” she recalls.

“I was calm, with no panic and fear. I securely packed our items and then moved with my children. We were displaced for more than 15 days, and the kids were well protected. The knowledge I gained during the psychosocial support sessions was helpful.” 

Israa has ambitions to go to school and attributes her motivation to the psychosocial sessions she attended.

“I'm lucky to be one of the people to benefit from these programmes,” she emphasizes. “From the sessions, I decided to return to school with my children.”

With a hopeful tone in her words, she expresses her wishes for a secure future for the entire community and, most importantly, a brighter future for her children. 

Israa is not only learning to navigate adversity but has also discovered newfound ambition and strength amidst the immense hardships of displacement. Her story should inspire others in similar circumstances across Sudan and beyond. Despite the devastating toll Sudan’s conflict has taken, there are reasons for hope. 

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